A beautiful explanation of the types of adoption available to suite each family written by Lisa:
A fully open adoption can almost be described as a family relationship with open invitations to call and visit each other. Semi-Open generally includes meetings and visits with each other before the birth of the baby, letters and pictures throughout the child’s life, and possibly one visit in a neutral location after baby is born. Closed adoption means none of the parents meet each other, or even know first names. There are no letters, pictures or contact after the birth of baby.
Typically, the Birth Parents decide how much openness they want. Adoptive Parents also decide what they are comfortable with. Many Adoptive Parents have been through a significant amount of grief by the time they make the decision to choose adoption as a way to grow their family. They may have been through one or more still births and/or miscarriages. They have endured years of disappointment, humiliation and empty arms. Usually, by the time they are ready to adopt they have grieved over never knowing who they would have “created” as a couple—what he or she would have looked like, or what it felt like to be pregnant. They have grieved unimaginable losses. So they make the steps towards adoption with sometimes “raw” and vulnerable emotions. This vulnerable state can cause some Adoptive Parents fear and trepidation about open and even semi-open adoption. It is not uncommon for Adoptive Parents to desire a closed adoption when they first begin the process, only to become comfortable with some form of openness with time. There are many Adoptive Parents who are comfortable with a fully open adoption. The majority of adoptions in this day and age are considered semi-open.
On the flip side, the parents, or Birth Parents of the baby are giving the most precious gift they could ever give by placing their child into the adoptive couple’s arms. To give that gift without ever seeing or reading how their child is doing, what he or she is like or what he or she looks like can be extraordinarily painful. However birth Parents that are able to view these pictures and letters are given a tangible way to see that the gift they gave is loved, happy and well care for. It is healing and comforting to the inner loss they have experienced by giving their baby up for adoption. They have not made an easy or quick decision about how to provide what they know is the best life for their baby, so to have letters and pictures with-held can almost feel like a punishment. There are some Birth Parents who do not wish to have any contact with the Adoptive Parents, or ever to see the baby or receive letters and pictures. This is not wrong because it is their way of handling the pain and grief they are experiencing. Each of us handles grief and difficult life experiences differently. Adoption today allows room for these differences.
Whether you choose to have a fully open adoption, semi-open adoption or closed adoption, you have choices whether you are Adoptive Parents or Birth Parents. In most cases, if the two sets of parents meet each other, all fear and trepidation are gone, replaced with affection and respect.